All at sea.

I was hoping to share with you hilarious tales of John’s trip to Belfast on his beloved ‘S’ boat. After last years crazy adventure I was looking forward to watching his videos with him and hearing all about what he got up to. Our conversation went something like this :

“So Johnny boy, did you have a great time on the ‘S’ boat?, did you like your Cabin?” I said excitedly, trying not to clap and jump up and down.

“‘S’ boat. Yes. Befass.” replied John talking in bullet points as usual before walking away to look for a cd.

I followed after him, desperate to hear all about his wonderful trip. “I know you went to Belfast, did you have fun?”

“Loyyies” mumbled John as he took a pile of cd’s out of a box and looked at each one for what seemed like an age.

“So you saw lots of lorries? good, excellent, did you watch them all being loaded on and off.” I realised I was sounding a tad obsessive but I love it when he gets to go on his special trips and want to share in his excitement.

Finally John found the cd he was looking for, turned to me and said ” Fothy So Man” and ran off upstairs.

I followed him. “Never mind Frosty the Snowman, lets talk about you, the ‘S’ boat, Belfast and staying in the hotel?”

“Queer Mehm” replied John, followed immediately by “Door” indicating that our conversation was over.

I sloped out of his room slightly miffed that he didn’t want to talk to me about his three days in Belfast or his 16 hours on the ‘S’ boat, moreover who the hell is Queer Mehm ? It must have been someone he met on board or maybe in the hotel. I hung around out side his door in the hope that he would put a video on of his trip and then I could pop in and out to get some idea of how it went.
All that I could hear was Frosty the Snowman singing and John joining in with lots of head slapping and yelps.
He had clearly decided that ‘What goes on in Belfast, stays in Belfast’

I did ask the staff at Nelsons Croft how it had gone, they said he’d had a wonderful time, recorded hours of video footage, mainly of the lorries loading and unloading and that he had slept for 14 hours when he got back!
Good grief! what the hell had he and Queer Mehm got up to?
No one knew anything about Queer Mehm and he/she/it remained a mystery…. until the following weekend.

As you know John’s obsession with the ‘S’ boat has been all consuming and we spend hours looking at pictures of it on Google and watching footage on Youtube. He is always down at 12 Quays in Birkenhead with his dad or support staff watching it arrive and depart and he is well known to the Stenna line staff. I thinks its fair to say he loves the ‘S’ boat as much as I love George Clooney. Not that I spend hours on Google and Youtube stalking gorgeous George, good grief no, that would be just weird….surely.

Anyway I digress, When I picked John up on the following Friday there was still no mention of the ‘S’ boat and so we chatted about his next focus, firework night. John calls it “Bang Night or “Bah Nigh” as he pronounces it.
This can get a bit confusing as he also says ‘Bah nigh, er wah’ every time I pick him up to remind me that I must give him a bath and a hair wash. Sometimes I find myself telling him he is going to have fireworks after tea instead of a bath because I forget to say ‘Er wah’.
Autism is so literal.

Just to emphasise that point, I was recently told a very funny story by the mum of an autistic man, a few years older than John. Just for the story I will call him Paul, here is the gist of what happened…..

Paul came home from school one day and told his mum that he had been learning all about the life of Jesus and all of the good and wonderful things he had done.
Later that evening after the family dinner he wandered over to the sideboard, picked up a big heavy vase and threw it straight through the dining room window leaving a massive hole.
His mum was very shocked as he had never displayed any kind of aggressive behaviour before. She told him it was a bad thing to do and asked him why he had done it. He answered her very matter of factly “If I am good then I will be crucified”

So basically, to ensure that there was no way the Romans would ever get their hands on him he was planning to be a very bad lad indeed. Hilarious!
I love that story, it’s a wonderful example of why we need to be careful what we say to autistic people.

Right, back to John and Bang night. John reeled off all of the people he wanted to come to his Bang Night party, there were all the usual suspects, plus Father Christmas, Buzz Lightyear and Queer Mehm.

“John, who is this Queer Mehm you keep mentioning?”

“Queer Mehm, Libubub, Yessss” John grabbed me and got me in a painful headlock, such was his excitement at the mere mention of the name.

“Aaaagh gerroffff John” I gasped as John licked my face with gusto and goo. He released me just as everything stared to go black.
“QUEER MEHM” he shrieked down my cauliflower ear “BAH NIGH. YEEEEESSSSSS”

At least I had established that Queer Mehm came from Liverpool so I was a little father on with my investigations. “Is Queer Mehm a man or a lady or a toy?” I asked.

“Queer Mehm, Johnelmo oh Queer mehm” he replied jabbing himself in the chest to let me know who Johnelmo was. “Befass” he added. Then he grabbed my hand, dragged me up to his kingdom and indicated that he wanted me to Google pictures of Queer Mehm.

He pointed at me, shook his head and said “No man”

“John, are you saying Queer Mehm is not a man?” I queried.

“Yes no man” replied John shaking and nodding his head helpfully and doing the Makaton sign for King.

“So, if Queer Mehm isn’t a man who is a king…..” I was talking to myself more than to John but was obviously making some sense as he leapt up and down and shouted “yessss”
“Then is Queer Mehm a lady who is a Queen? ……” the last thing I remember was John jumping on me and the two of us falling in a tangled heap onto the floor. A simple yes would have done!

Once I recovered I typed Queen Mary into Google as she was the only Queen I could think of whose name started with the letter M. Staring back at me was the austere po-faced monarch, surely John hadn’t taken a fancy to her. Maybe there had been a picture of her in the hotel in Belfast. John shook his head wildly and then holding two fingers up he started to shout louder believing it would be easier for me to understand what it was he was trying to say, in much the same way we shout at the French.

Oh dear god, with a feeling of impending doom I realised what he was trying to tell me.
I typed in Queen Mary 2 and there she was in all her glory the magnificent Queen of Cunard and Johns new obsession.
He nearly slapped himself into a coma.

He only wants to go to Belfast on the Queen Mary 2……how hard can that be?



4 thoughts on “All at sea.

    • Ah thank you Jayne! He certainly knows what he wants, it just that sometimes it takes me a while to figure it out. Thank you for reading the blog, please share it. X

  1. Oh fantastic! Again your beautifully written words bring no only joy but also superb awareness of the challenges Autism brings to daily lives. I am such a fan! Thank you for everything that you do Julie and thank you John for being the wonderful person that you are! Brave and full of very clever indeed! xxxxxxx

    • Aw thank you Antonella, I am so glad that you feel so positive about what I am trying to do. John is so easy to write about that I am hopeful it is as easy to read, enjoy and understand. Comments such as yoyrs make inspire me to continue. Xx

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